Big, Big Data!

Lev Manovich’s “Trending: The Promises and the Challenges of Big Social Data,” in Debates in the Digital Humanities, was written in 2012.  That was already three years ago and at the time, archiving website data wasn’t as advanced as it is now.  Manovich writes, “At YouTube, computer scientists work on algorithms that will automatically show a list of other videos deemed to be relevant to the one you are currently watching.”  This quote is something that I see happening every day in the digital world around me.   I go on YouTube and my screen is already filled with recommended Taylor Swift songs and hair tutorials.

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The reason that I raise this point is because I always wondered why my recent searches (like certain purses, clothes or shoes) are always on the sidebar of my screen when I’m looking at various pages.  One of these reasons is the generation of data through my online searching.  Manovich writes about in his article; however what he is adding to is far more in depth than the data that the Internet has gathered about me.

Data archiving has come a long way since the creation of this article, but it still has a ways to go.  There are now companies that sell data collection tools to buyers so that they may collect information on their users and consumers.  But, what would really propel the field further is the merging of qualitative and quantitative researchers.  I think that this idea of big data can have good and bad sides to it; for example, I don’t like the idea of companies using my personal and demographic information to further market their product.  I feel like that’s an invasion of my privacy.  However, this is what’s bound to happen in the coming years with growing data archives and archiving companies with softwares.

Big data has affected my life in the way that I stated as companies used my recent searches to create a profile of items that I may be interested in.  But it can be taken further where companies can use the information gained from their users to market to the right audience.


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